Filipino youth pay it forward after sponsorship
November 18, 2010
Hope for a Family sponsorship enables families to build a path out of poverty. It is with great joy that we watch youth graduate from college, effectively changing the trajectory of their lives.
Members of the CFCA-Manila Alumni Club gather for
one of their meetings. The program provides current sponsored
friends with real-life examples of the potential for their lives.
But CFCA’s importance in their life doesn’t stop with graduation. Many young adults feel a deep sense of belonging and loyalty to CFCA after years of sponsorship. In response to those deeply held affections, former sponsored youth from CFCA’s Manila, Philippines, project formed the CFCA-Manila Alumni Club in 2009.
“The alumni club was started from staff collaboration that we should recall our CFCA-Manila project graduates since they represent CFCA’s fulfillment of its mission for the families that we serve,” said Forisa Vereña, a member of the alumni club’s organizing committee.
The project held a workshop with graduates of the Manila sponsorship and scholarship programs. During the workshop, graduates shared CFCA’s importance in their lives.
“They were able to express their gratitude and desire of paying it forward by offering services with our current sponsored members through their own initiative,” Vereña said.
The graduates elected officers for the club and raised funds through the sale of T-shirts. The shirts, designed by club members, reflect the theme of “Radiating Compassion,” which is also the title of the club’s theme song. Club president and former sponsored child Meshille Mitra, 29, composed and performed the song.
The club is open to graduates of any age who were sponsored through CFCA or who received a CFCA scholarship. The group has about 140 members and is growing rapidly throughout CFCA-Manila communities.
Alumni club members make a personal commitment to share their skills, knowledge and time with current CFCA sponsored members. The program provides real-life examples for current sponsored friends of the potential for their lives. In many ways, the alumni club is a walking example of hope.
Group members tutor sponsored friends and aid the project with food distributions. They hope to further enhance their service to sponsored members. For example, nursing graduates hope to provide health education, and other graduates hope to provide livelihood training using their professional experience.
The club also provides an opportunity for members to help each other make the transition to the professional world, offering interview advice and job tips. The members gain confidence and encouragement as they network and share experiences.
“What matters most is their heart and mission to share what they have and be partners with the sponsored members as they realize their vision in life,” Vereña said.
Above all, the club hopes to radiate compassion, the compassion they received as sponsored children, and continue to give as professionals.